Since I began this blog, I have had many conversations with parents and children that struggle with forgiveness. The parents seem to realize their mistakes and have a strong desire to have a relationship with the child they left behind. Ironically, the children don’t want to have anything to do with them. There’s just too much pain and resentment for the child to push aside to rebuild a relationship.
This reminds me of the story in the bible about the prodigal son. If you recall, the son left the comfort of his home and family to explore the world and all that was good AND bad in it. After realizing the grass was not greener, he decided to come home. His father planned an extravagant homecoming party to celebrate his son’s return. The other son was angry because he stayed and did what was expected of him. He couldn’t understand why there was a need to celebrate. The father said my son was lost but now he’s found.
I relate this to the father that decides to leave his family. After the family gets over the pain and shock of him leaving, they create a new life. They find a way to manage and get things done. All the while, each family member carries a memory of the father that left. Some long for his return, just as the father in the bible story. While others resent him for leaving because of the burden that it placed on their lives, just as the brother felt in the story.
The question is, which family member are you going to be when the prodigal father tries to come back? Are you prepared to receive him with open arms of forgiveness to give him all of you and another opportunity to make it right? Or will you be angry that he even made an attempt to come back not
caring enough about him to let him back into your life?
The lesson in the bible was all about forgiveness… unconditional forgiveness.